Approximately 100 Education professionals of the 10 OECS Member States participated in the OECS Teacher Education and Professional Development Conference under the theme, “One Voice in Re-Engineering OECS Teacher Education”. The two-day event aimed at building a collective response to challenges in the education system in the OECS.
Chief Education Officers, Directors of Education, Principals and Deans of the National Colleges, Teacher Educators, Curriculum Officers and teachers all collaborated to identify actions which should be taken to enhance teacher education and professional development and essentially teacher quality.
The conference was also geared towards establishing mechanisms for developing evidence-based approaches to teacher education and professional development in the OECS.
Sisera Simon, Head of the Education Development Management Unit (EDMU) at the OECS Commission stated:
The conference made tremendous strides towards establishing the environment that will boost teacher quality. The discussions and decisions surrounded arrangements with the Eastern Caribbean Joint Board of Teacher Education and the need for it to be responsive to the needs of the Member States. A call was also made to improve on the partnership and networking between Ministries of Education, Teachers’ Colleges and Schools.” Mrs Simon further elaborated that the EDMU will continue to serve as facilitator and enabler to the networking required to achieve one voice in re-engineering OECS Teacher Education and Professional Development.
Participants had the opportunity to critically analyze reports on the current situation to determine possible actions towards developing a sustainable in-service professional development programme led by the Teachers’ Colleges of the OECS.
I appreciated the collaborative approach to the conference from two different levels. Each Member State was represented as well as the diversity of education professionals who took part in the discussions. We hope to build a plan of actions owned by all of us and that we are all committed to implement. Chief Education Officer for Anguilla Mrs Rhonda Connor said.
The quality of teaching is not just about the initial preparation of the teachers but also about the continuing development of the teachers and we were exposed to a number of models which we can try when we get back to our various territories. Vice Principal of Antigua State College Dr. Patricia Benn stated.
This conference enabled us to have a deeper mutual understanding of the challenges that we are facing despite the differences between the education system in Martinique and the other OECS Member States. We have to share more experiences to be able to create synergies and use our limited resources wisely. Ghislaine Shuller, Educative Cooperation Officer at the Academy of Martinique said.
Several actions were agreed as the first step in achieving a re-engineered teacher education and professional development environment. These actions will be accomplished through specific activities that will be designed to meet specific and overall objectives related to teacher education and professional development. Some of the major actions include:
• Restructuring the Eastern Caribbean Joint Board of Teacher’s Education to be more responsive to the needs of the member states
• Enhancing continuing professional development of teachers
• Increasing actions research implemented by teachers educators in national colleges.
• Creating a structure to facilitate discussions between demand and supply related to education (e.g: increase cooperation between Ministries of Education and teachers’ colleges).
The conference which was deemed a success by the organizers and participants was supported by UNICEF, USAID and the Global Partnership for Education. ¤